Nightpiece, by James Joyce


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Gaunt in gloom,
The pale stars their torches,
Enshrouded, wave.
Ghostfires from heaven’s far verges faint illume,
Arches on soaring arches,
Night’s sindark nave.

The lost hosts awaken
To service till
In moonless gloom each lapses muted, dim,
Raised when she has and shaken
Her thurible.

And long and loud,
To night’s nave upsoaring,
A starknell tolls
As the bleak incense surges, cloud on cloud,
Voidward from the adoring
Waste of souls.

The poem above, from which the name of my old blog was taken, was first given to me by Sarah Johnson (now Webster) when she was visiting the University of British Columbia in 2001.

I have always appreciated it more for the sound than for the meaning; a trend that is shared between the music and the poetry I enjoy. I almost never engage with trying to find a meaning. I prefer to just let them suggest themselves to me, though the sound and structure of their language.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Milan July 25, 2008 at 2:45 pm

Understandably, there is some confusion about the nomenclature of this site. It can only be properly understood as a series of layered literary references. Originally, I had a site called Night’s Sindark Nave, hosted on Blogger. This was active between X and Y. During that period, the blog migrated from to, and then from Blogger-based content management to WordPress.

In the run-up to my time in Oxford, I decided to start things anew. The new site was still located at, but took its title from the Nabokov novel Lolita.

3755607726 January 23, 2015 at 3:08 am

but took its title from the Nabokov novel Lolita

She sat a little higher than I, and whenever in her solitary ecstasy she was led to kiss me, her head would bend with a sleepy, soft, drooping movement that was almost woeful, and her bare knees caught and compressed my wrist, and slackened again; and her quivering mouth, distorted by the acridity of some mysterious potion, with a sibilant intake of breath came near to my face.

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